For those who feel somewhat exposed when their feet are anything less than fully encased, the return to autumn/winter comes as a relief. Back in the wardrobe can go the sandals, ballet slippers and flip-flops requisite in the sweaty summer months in favour of a proper pair of shoes. Next season's fashion for all things boyish – from sharp tailoring to masculine proportions – is echoed in footwear from designer to high street. And so, that most-masculine of fastenings, the monk strap, can be found adorning a multitude of shoe styles for women.
While brogues have maintained a foothold as the blokish shoe du jour for the last few years, the monk strap is now making inroads. Named for the European monks who favoured the style for its foot protection and ability to slip on and off with ease, the essential detail is, of course, that strap. Most commonly found as a single or double strap crossing the shoe and buckling on the outside – more straps usually equate to a larger apron on the front of the shoe.
A shoe worth showing off, Junya Watanabe teamed monk-strap styles with narrow tailored trousers and floaty tea-dresses for his autumn/winter 12 collection. Mixing up the masculine with the feminine is an easy way to introduce the style to your wardrobe, while cuffed or cropped trousers will show off not only the strap but only the right amount of ankle – just make sure your socks are up to scratch.
Best foot forward: 1. £89, underground-england.co.uk; 2. £125, hudsonshoes.com; 3. £62, office.co.uk; 4. £135, drmartens.com; 5. £346.69, 3.1 Philip Lim, shopbop.com; 6. £535, Jil Sander, net-a-porter.com; 7. £65, Clarks, clarks.co.uk; 8. £90, Topshop, topshop.com; 9. £175, Russell & Bromley, russellandbromley.co.uk